Topic 4: Educational Aspect on the Selection and Use of Digital Resources

As outlined in the SECTIONS model, digital resources should be selected and used based on the following criteria: Students, erase of use, cost, teaching functions, interaction, organizational issues, networking, and security and privacy.

  1. Students: Determine the needs of the target group.  You should consider the demographics of your students (for instance, first-year students may need more support), their access (are they equipped with technological devices and internet access? What type?), as well as differences in how students learn (students will prefer different forms of technology and media).
  2. Ease of Use: Keep it simple. Educational technologies should be easy to learn and use for everyone. For students without a basic set of skills, the institution can provide preparatory courses in computer and information literacy. Orientation is also very necessary so students can have some time to become familiar with new tools and learn computing skills. It is also crucial to design the interface between the machine and the user so that the course is well structured, intuitive, and easy to navigate. Finally, to keep it simple, use software that has been tested and is reliable.
  3. Cost: Consider the cost in terms of money and time. For instance, take into account which media will require the most time to develop.
  4. Teaching and media selection: Mayer (2009) identified 12 principles of multimedia design, based on how learners cognitively process multimedia:
    • Coherence: Keep things simple with media, as it is more effective to eliminate extraneous words, pictures, and sounds from a lesson.
    • Signalling: Students need to know what to look for in multimedia materials. Showing how essential material is organized improves learning.
    • [Avoid] Redundancy: Graphics combined with narration are more effective than graphics, narration and on-screen text.
    • Spatial contiguity: It is easier to learn when related words and pictures appear close together rather than far apart on the page or screen.
    • Temporal contiguity: Learning is enhanced when words and pictures are presented simultaneously rather than successively.
    • Segmenting: Instead of presenting a multimedia lesson continuously, users learn better when it is presented in user-paced segments. A series of short YouTube videos is more likely to be more effective than one long video of 50 minutes.
    • Pre-training: A multimedia lesson is more effective when the learners know what the main concepts are and the characteristics of them. Providing a summary of key concepts and principles through a lecture or reading before showing videos with more detailed examples or applications will enhance learning.
    • Modality: Graphics and narrations are more effective than animations and on-screen text.
    • Multimedia: The combination of words and pictures enhances learning more than presenting words alone.
    • Personalization: Multimedia lessons are more effective when they are delivered in a conversational manner rather than a formal one.
    • Voice: Multimedia lessons are more effective when narration is spoken in a friendly human voice instead of a machine’s voice.
    • [No] image: Adding the speaker’s image to the screen does not necessarily enhance learning.

(Mayer, 2009, as cited in Bates 2019, p. 485-487)

  1. Interaction: How much and what kind of interaction a medium facilitates. Active learning helps students learn more effectively.
  2. Organizational issues: Technology readiness and professional collaboration.
  3. Networking: Provide learners with the opportunity to connect with others outside of the course, such as subject specialists, professionals, and relevant community members.
  4. Security and privacy: Students, instructors, and teachers need a secure online workspace.

(Bates, 2019)

Watch the video below to learn more about the SECTIONS model:

The Norwegian Centre for ICT in Education suggests evaluating digital resources based on the user dimension (how the user interacts with the resource), the distinctiveness of the digital resource (its advantages and disadvantages), and the subject and education dimension (potential for education and evaluation).

  1. User orientation: How engaging is the digital learning resource?
    Students should be engaged and motivated by resources that are inclusive, accessible, and relevant to their topic of study. Furthermore, they should be easy to understand and use, follow a familiar navigational pattern, and not discriminate against ethnic, social, or gender groups.
  2. The distinctiveness of digital resources: What are their advantages? Are they adaptable? Are they able to provide new educational opportunities?
    Resources should include text, images, video, animation, simulations, and other media forms. As part of educational principles, media forms should be selected and integrated, adapted to different contexts, used separately (modular use), and facilitate diverse teaching and learning practices by utilizing various media, communication resources, and solid access to updated information.
  3. Subject and education dimension: How relevant is the digital learning resource to the curriculum? Is it suitable for educational evaluation? How can digital learning resources be used in education?
    An effective resource should be relevant to the current curriculum, indicate how various curriculum goals will be achieved, provide opportunities for evaluation, such as tests, and contribute to formative and/or summative assessments. It should be suitable for individual work, group work, teacher-led activities, etc.

(Norvegian Centre for ICT in Education)